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October 10, 2008

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Bourjaily: Cellular Heckling

Among the people I shoot skeet and sporting clays with, good natured heckling is an accepted, even encouraged, practice.

I was, however, the victim of a new 21st century  technological low: the first cell-phone heckling I’m aware of on the skeet field.

We were most of the way through a round when my phone rang. Since it was just me and my son Gordon on the field, I took the call. It was Rick, who I thought might be calling to say he was on his way to shoot with us. Big mistake.

Me: Hey Rick.

Rick: I’m at home. Where are you?

Me: Station 7.

Rick: I just wanted to see if you’d missed yet.

Me: Uh, no.

Rick: Good luck with your straight. Bye.

Mentioning a straight in progress is the equivalent of asking a pitcher if he’s aware he has a no-hitter going – supposedly a sure-fire jinx. I managed to keep my focus and broke the rest of the targets. Unfortunately, Rick’s call claimed an unintended victim:  Gordon melted down and missed three of the next four.

I am not one of those with a phone stuck to my ear. My cell rings rarely enough that I’m usually happy when I get a call. From now on, though, the phone stays in my pocket when I’m shooting.


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You should've thrown that phone in the air and shot it -- that would've been the straight you were looking for, and you wouldn't have to worry about a call again.

Rabid Outdoorsman

Cell phones are at the same time the greatest benefit and curse that humanity has ever known! While they do have amazing benefits sometimes I just need to escape to the woods and unplug.

I'm in school right now

Speaking of the apocalypse on the last blog, what about if technology goes down?



You always turn that cell phone off when on the target field, Dummy!!!!

The World can wait 40-minutes!

Tech meltdown??? Use a pigeon.



My cell phone has (had) been broken since mid July. Didn't bother to get it fixed right away as I had other more important things to do. I really began to like not being on an electronic leash. Between my secretary and my wife I was more or less ordered to get it repaired... So I'm back on the leash so to speak, but I'm keeping it turned off and I only check my messages once a day...

Bernie Kuntz

Until two months ago when I flew to Kentucky to see my new grandson, I hadn't been in an airport in six years. I was astonished to watch the people with their damned cell phones, Blackberries, ipods, lap tops and other electronic crap. They played with these devices constantly, and the verbal interchange among most of the people was all but non-existent.
It makes one long for the days of the IBM Selectric III (I have one!) and the absence of all the electronic gadgetry.



Seems to me that a cell phone is an unnecessary distraction when doing anything that requires concentration. that is why you should have left it in the car while you are working the stations. When I am doing anything that i declare to be important, I turn the thing off. If you happen to be somebody "important"(almost never the case) or you are "on call" then be responsible and not engage in an activity that can become dangerous when you are distracted. this is simple enough.

Matt in MN

The cell comes in handly to call the clubhouse when one of the stations on the sporting clays course has a trap that's acting up.


That right there? That's funny. I don't care what anybody says. Good fun it is.

Sorta makes me miss the bedroom belt snap fights with my big brothers before lights out 40 years ago.


This reminds me of the day I was hunting deer and after scouring around a likely spot with bino's for half an hour sat down to take a break and a drink. whilst I was resting I hadnt realised I left my cellphone in my pocket and sure enough someone sent me a text message. At the sound of the beeps a deer jump up from its bed 60 yards away from me and looked around with a puzzled look on its face as if to say "What the heck was that." Quickly Got the rifle to my shoulder and whopped him. They aren,t always a bad thing.


what is worse is when you wife calls when you are out hunting. what ever game WAS in the vacinity, leaves. but you really shouldn't turn it off, because it is how you are communicating with your other hunting buddies on that hunt. and to make matters worse, all she wants is to talk! what is IT that charlie brown says when lucy pulls away the foot ball? oh yeah, AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!



Thank you for keeping this blog alive. I am tired of Dave's apocalyptic writing and group of bloggers who echo his pessimism.


We had a strict rule at the farm during duck and goose season: the ##@#%%#@@#@!!! cell phones stayed at the camphouse. One unredeemed idiot we invited down had his cell phone (ringer turned on) go off with a flock of specklebellies decoying. It was a hard choice between trying to scratch down a flaring speck or shoot that SOB.


Most cell phones have a silent option, it vibrates but makes no real noise.
I use this since the time my wife called me while out hunting, it was a dead silent day, straining to hear the faintest sound of an approaching deer and the dang cell goes off! Darn nearly jumped outta my skin! Mine's on silent mode when hunting now.


Does anybody here really need to know about silent mode or turning off the phone to avoid interruptions?!?!?! If so -- gun nuts are a sorry lot...

I say the same thing as Andy -- should have shot the thing in mid-air! The laughs between Bourj and Gordon for the rest of their lives would have been worth every penny of the $30 deductible!

Barack Hussein Obama bin Laden

Put your phone on vibrate idiots r us. Hunting and shooting is supposed to be an escape into the real world. Leave it in the cabin or truck or pretend you're living in that time period (billions of years) when we were not on a cellular leash.

Phil Bourjaily

Frankie -- Thanks for your kind words about my contributions. I am nowhere near as pessimistic a person as DEP -- think of me as Piglet to his Eeyore.

Michael -- Your note reminds me that one of my waterfowling friends used to have a recording of noisy Canada geese as his ringtone. Every time his phone went off, I looked up for birds. Very annoying.

Bigjedd -- Great deer hunting story.

As an update, today my younger son who was shooting with me at the time tried to text-heckle me, but I have learned my lesson and left the phone in my pocket.

tony in illinois

Just try to go fishing with a cell phone never fails---wife calls and
and you miss the bite of the day!!
(makes ya want to drop it over the side don't it?)


Some of us have to have a phone on us all the time and are on call due to job duties. My wife and I have a standing rule: if I'm hunting or shooting, only call if it's an emergencey, and as a trade I'll keep the kids for your scrapbooking and pampered chef parties. (and not call everytime the kids whine) It's worked so well, that now the phone never rings, and if it's not her I don't answer.


I was fishing w/ a friend one day, bank fishing, and I heard my cell go off in my truck from about 30 yds away. I felt guilty about not going to answer it as I have a wife and three young ones. Anyways, after fishing a couple of more mins, it went off twice. Fearing an emergency, I went over to the truck and on the way back, you guessed it, my pole started chattering on the bank. Plunk!! My buddy got lucky and snagged it, but we never looked for the cell phone at the bottom!


Even as a technology hater, I am glad to say that I love cell phones. Why? They are easily silenced; whether you remembered to shut it up before it's too late, or you just press one of those buttons on the side that tells it to shut up.

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